Short Version: It’s really good! I usually don’t wear gaming-focused headphones like these, so it’s a very welcome change. The different modes, along with the convenient way to adjust volume, make this a fun headset to use. The instructions could be clearer on details regarding all the things you can do, but you’ll figure it out eventually. For $100, and for someone who uses headphones on a daily basis, it’s a pretty good headset to get.
Long Version: For pretty much my entire life, I have lived using cheap headphones that weren’t great, but good enough for what I needed them for. My standards are low, making me an easy person to please. However, after trying out the LucidSound LS20 headphones, I think I’m going to have a hard time going back to my older headset. It has a decent amount of features and tries to accommodate to my daily gaming needs in an easy-to-use way, but stumbles in a couple areas that might slow down your experience.
Get An Earful
This pair of headphones was created specifically for gamers and insists that you use them on pretty much any modern device that can run video games, whether it’s your smartphones, a portable gaming console or bigger things like the PS4 and the Xbox One. If you’re the kind of person that likes to use voice chat while gaming, the headset also comes with a detachable microphone that you can mute or unmute in a very easy manner, with an additional internal microphone available for whenever you don’t have it connected.
This is what makes this headset cool, in my opinion. It always does it’s best to not interrupt what you’re doing by actually giving some functionality to the headset itself through the addition of a wheel on the left ear cup to adjust volume. There are also two buttons on the left and right sides of the ear cups that serve to pause the sound and your microphone respectively. I have always found it bothersome to have to take out my phone from my case to pause my music or answer a call, but now I just need to click my left ear piece and feel like a cool super spy as I do what I need without stopping in my tracks.
Well Behaved Ear Drums Deserve Rewards
Even if the headset didn’t have any of these features, I still think these are great simply for how amazing they sound, especially when getting into some portable games, which are usually heard through some tiny speakers on the console itself. Playing games like Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Picross 3D: Round 2, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, Yomawari and Severed gave it a completely new dimension through the massive sound improvement that these headsets gave it. Frankly, I don’t think I could go back to just listening to these games on their own without the headset. It completely immersed me into games that I usually play while doing something else, but now they have my full attention. Being able to hear yourself while streaming some games on PS4 is also very useful for people like me who are constantly recording and uploading stuff online. The microphone also had better sound quality than I thought it would have, which was a nice surprise.
Going back to the actual hardware, there are also extra buttons around the ear cups, which are the power button and an EQ booster for bigger bass. These work pretty well, but here is where some of the struggling comes in. When I first received the headset, it was incredibly easy to just put on and use, but getting into some of its many features was difficult without resorting to the manual many times, with the power button being the biggest offender.
Basically, in order to accommodate to the different audio levels of all of these devices, the headset has different modes represented by colored lights. This is convenient, but I forgot many times what the colors meant and what the different flashing patterns represented without having the manual with me at all times. On top of that, the manual isn’t specific enough over how many times I need to press certain buttons or how long I need to press them. For example, you need to hold down the power button and wait for all the colors to cycle through until you find the one you want, but there’s no instructions on how to turn off the headset. It wasn’t until a bit of trail and error later that I found out that you had to hold it down for an awkward amount of time for it to power down, before the colors start to cycle.
The same goes for the EQ booster, which the manual talks nothing about, other than pointing out its existence in a picture. How do I turn it on? Do I just tap the button or do I hold it down, and for how long? How do I know that it’s still turned on after I turn off the whole headset? What if I don’t like that amount of EQ? Can I change it, and if so, how do I do that? What the hell is passive mode? The headphones still work after turning it off. Is that it? Are there any other modes I should know about? I wouldn’t know, since the manual just writes about all of these things as if I already knew about them, which I find frustrating.
Raise Your Hand If You’re Not Here
Speaking of frustrating, the microphone is also going to get a bit of a scolding for it’s confusing design decision. The way my brain works is that whenever I see anything in my headset light up, I assume that electricity is running through it, which means that it works and is listening to what I’m saying. Therefore, when something isn’t lit up, I take that as something being turned off, as in not working, or at the very least muted, so why the hell is it that this microphone lights up when it’s muted, but not when it is unmuted? Maybe I’m just being an idiot, but that makes about as much sense to me as a TV being turned on to show that it’s turned off. Not only was that a complete hassle to figure out, but also confusing.
Of course, I don’t want to be too harsh about this, since these are issues that can easily be fixed by providing more clarity in the instructions, but these were definitely sticking point in a fairly enjoyable experience. All of the good things in this headset completely outweigh the bad, and I’m willing to struggle a bit in the beginning in order to enjoy myself later, especially when talking about phone games and portable consoles.
Despite Everything, It’s Still LucidSound
Overall, I like these headphones a lot. Even though they initially made my ears hurt like hell after 20 minutes of use, eventually they adjusted to fit my ears and now I can wear them for way longer without feeling much of anything. The headset is pretty well built, has a good aesthetic and sounds great. For gamers, I think you’ll find the different modes and microphone functionality useful, but even non-gamers can get in on this since this works for pretty much anything that has a headphone jack in it. If you’re looking for some good sound and aren’t afraid to pay a little extra, I say you get the LucidSound LS20 Headphones.